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Environment

The Gulf of Mexico Bryde's whales are genetically distinct. They're a unique subspecies compared to other Bryde's whales worldwide. They have low genetic diversity. It's critical for populations and species to have genetic diversity for survival.
NOAA Fisheries

Members of Congress want the Gulf of Mexico Bryde’s whale to be federally protected under the Endangered Species Act.

University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences

Natalia Peres, a professor of plant pathology at University of Florida, dreams of the day where harmful pathogens no longer pose a significant threat to crops.

Steve Newborn / WUSF Public Media

The biggest coal-burning power plant in Florida may soon switch partially to natural gas. TECO says it's part of a move to cleaner energy, but some groups that aren't backing the switch plan to attend a public hearing Monday night in Riverview.

U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar meets with environmental leaders and activists in Tampa on March, 10.
Ashley Lisenby / WUSF Public Media

U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minnesota, says lawmakers cannot afford to ignore the environmental impacts of rising temperatures.

Wikipedia

A pair of bills have been filed in the Florida legislature that would mandate the state transition to renewable energy in the next thirty years. This is the first time such a requirement has come before state lawmakers.

The Republican–controlled Legislature will be tasked with an unexpected job: deciding whether to allocate funds for environmental causes championed by the governor.

The environment wasn’t a priority under former Governor Rick Scott. Florida’s new governor, Ron DeSantis, is taking a different approach - and raising eyebrows - as he seeks massive dollars to clean up the state’s water ways.

Now it's up to the Legislature to consider his funding request.

Prescribed Burns Could Help Cleanup Hurricane Debris

Mar 2, 2019

The state is looking to prescribed fires to clean up the massive amount of timber left after Hurricane Michael. Tall Timbers’ Wildland fire scientist, Kevin Hiers , says salvaging is not going to be a viable option for most landowners in North Florida.

The state wildlife agency is taking the next step toward establishing — or re-establishing — the American Flamingo as a Floridian bird.

Flamingos had been considered a non-native exotic species for decades, and were listed that way on the state wildlife website. Birds that people saw flying around were thought to be captives that had escaped.

Conor Goulding / Mote Marine Laboratory

The battle against red tide may soon get a boost. A proposal to give $3 million a year for five years to study red tide got a unanimous thumbs-up when the Tampa Bay Area legislative delegation met Tuesday in Sarasota.

Pixabay/heronworks

State wildlife officials are drafting a rule to protect Florida’s native songbirds from illegal trapping. Officers are seeing an increase in bird trafficking for the pet industry.

Florida's coastal waters appear free from a devastating red tide bloom that began in October 2017.

A Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission report released Wednesday says the toxic algae were no longer present in water samples collected anywhere in the state. 

Lucas Suarez, PIRO-NOAA

People who fish for sharks in Florida will soon have to get a special permit. State wildlife officials are also banning chumming from shore, which involves dropping fish parts and blood into the water to attract sharks.

University of Florida researchers say the U.S. population is becoming less reliant on rivers and waterways. Instead trends have reversed to an increased demand for groundwater.

For well over a year, visitors to Florida's beautiful Gulf Coast beaches have found dead fish lining the shoreline. A red tide algae bloom afflicted coastal communities from Florida's Panhandle to its southern tip. But in the past few weeks, monitoring conducted by marine scientists shows that the red tide bloom is finally disappearing.

Red tide blooms occur when a microscopic alga, Karenia brevis, proliferates in a higher than normal concentration. When concentrations are high enough, toxic chemicals released by the algae can affect marine life and people.

Florida Fish and Wildlife/Flikr

The National Audubon Society has released its restoration plan for the Gulf of Mexico. It would draw on the $20 billion settlement from the 2010 BP oil spill.

A federal judge on Monday refused to end a decades-old court order that oversees water quality and environmental restoration in the sensitive Florida Everglades. 

Julio Ochoa/WUSF

Tampa Democratic Congresswoman Kathy Castor was recently selected as chair of the new Select Committee on the Climate Crisis.

Key West has become the first place in the mainland U.S. to ban the sale of sunscreens containing two chemicals that have been found in some studies to harm corals.

"There are thousands and thousands of various alternative sunscreens that can be used. But we only have one reef," said Commissioner Jimmy Weekley, one of the sponsors of the ordinance.

It won final approval by a 6-1 vote Tuesday night.

Southwest Florida Water Management District- Facebook

After 31 years with the Southwest Florida Water Management District, Brandt Henningsen has retired as Chief Advisory Environmental Scientist.  

A rare whale was found dead in the waters of Florida's Everglades National Park. 

After stony coral tissue loss disease reached the Lower Keys last spring, the disease seemed to stall. Reef scientists were hoping that meant it might peter out.

But it didn't.

Governor Ron DeSantis wants $625 million dollars for environmental spending in the upcoming budget. DeSantis announced a plan Tuesday to fund more than 20 projects in the Everglades over the next five years.

Daylina Miller/WUSF News

Unprovoked shark bites dropped around the world by 25 percent in 2018, with the number of attacks in Florida falling even more.

An update is expected this week in a legal dispute over Everglades restoration.

The Nassau Board of County Commissioners has made historic American Beach’s conversion from septic tanks to general sewer a priority and they’re lobbying the state government for financial aid.

Jessica Meszaros / WUSF Public Media

Patchy toxic blooms have been hanging around the Gulf of Mexico for more than a year now, killing fish and other marine life.

State wildlife officials said this has been the busiest red tide event in recent memory.

Next Steps Eyed In Fight Against Water Woes

Jan 24, 2019

Local governments have spent $17.3 million the state provided to combat outbreaks of red tide and toxic blue-green algae, which have caused massive fish kills and fouled waters in coastal areas for more than a year.

Steve Newborn / WUSF Public Media

The Florida Aquarium cut the ribbon Wednesday on a sea turtle rehabilitation center in Apollo Beach. It will  expand efforts to save endangered turtles - and increase public awareness of them.

FWC website

The latest red tide report shows high concentrations of the toxic algae blooms in Sarasota and Collier counties. This nearly 16-month red tide event has killed more sea turtles than ever recorded.

Respiratory irritation related to red tide was also reported over the past week in Pinellas, Manatee and Sarasota counties.

Now that newly elected officials have been sworn in, local environmental groups have joined together to host an event to lay out policy that would help to eradicate Florida’s water quality woes.  

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